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Last Updated: Monday, 25 December 2006, 21:48 GMT
Tributes paid to soul star Brown
James Brown in 1972
Brown was "a gifted genius when it came to music", his agent said

Tributes have been paid to singer James Brown, known as the "Godfather of Soul", who has died at the age of 73.

US civil rights leader, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, said Brown was a cultural, political and social force.

"They call him Godfather of Soul - if soul means feeling and passion and pathos and cultural sensitivity he embodied soul," said Mr Jackson.

Famous for hits like Sex Machine, Brown died unexpectedly on Monday in hospital in Atlanta after suffering pneumonia.

'Dramatic to the end'

Flowers have been laid at a statue of the soul superstar in his home city of Augusta, Georgia, where Mayor Deke Copenhaver described his friend as "just a wonderful giving man".

US singer Little Richard said he was an innovator, emancipator and originator.

"Rap music, all that stuff came from James Brown."

He "changed the music industry", US civil rights leader Al Sharpton said. "He put everybody on a different beat, a different style of music."

"He pioneered it."

Connor McNicholas, editor of the NME music magazine, said Brown appealed to successive generations.

"This was a guy who came from a very deprived background, and knew that the route to success was young music buyers, so as every generation went through he was very keen to make sure that he updated his sound and made sure that he stayed relevant."

A friend who was with Brown when he died said he would like people to know "he was a man who preached love from the stage."

"He was a true humanitarian who loved his country," Charles Bobbit said.

Another friend, US civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, said he "was dramatic to the end, dying on Christmas Day.

"He'll be all over the news all over the world today. He would have it no other way," he told the Associated Press.

String of hits

Brown was born in 1933 in South Carolina.

He joined a gospel group as a young man after his release from jail for trying to steal a car.

James Brown in 2006
Brown's songs have been widely sampled by other artists

He had his first hit on the US rhythm and blues chart, Please Please Please, in 1956.

Brown had 94 hits on Billboard's mainstream Hot 100 in the US, according to his official website, and by the end of his career, he had a repertoire of 800 songs.

However, he achieved only one top 10 single in the UK - Living in America, from the soundtrack of Rocky IV, which reached number five in 1986.

The star was credited with spreading the popularity of funk around the world, influencing a new generation of black music which spawned rap and hip-hop.

Brown, who had surgery for prostate cancer in 2004, appeared in London in October as part of the BBC's Electric Proms line-up.

Last month Brown played at a ceremony at London's Alexandra Palace which saw his induction into the UK Music Hall of Fame, 20 years after entering the US equivalent.


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